Thursday, 7 April 2011

They're Up and Running!

24 Pesos at the Malt Shovel Tavern – 4 April 2011

If you like your blues flavoured with jazzy guitar, driving rhythms and funky bass, all wrapped up in that cool Hammond sound, then 24 Pesos will get you a mouth-watering feast. This band doesn’t hold back, and from the word go they’re up and running on high octane blues/jazz /funk.


No meandering and incoherent jamming here. All the arrangements were meticulously crafted, with plenty of variations in key and tempo changes, plus some nice jazzy signature duets by Julian and Moz. This band was really tight and professional in their approach, and their overall sound was well balanced, with volume levels just about right for the venue.

Julian coaxed a killer Les Paul sound from his Bacchus guitar using a little 40W Marshall amplifier, whilst Moz was right there with the Hammond B3 sound on his Nord keyboard. Well, he did use an old Leslie speaker cabinet, complete with revolving-horns!

The musicianship was excellent in all quarters. Julian’s skill around the fretboard was precise and purposeful, playing a sizzling mix of jazz chords and solos, and raw blues riffs; all with considerable drive and passion. What more could you ask for?

Still, it’s hard to please everyone.

“They’re a band that could grow on me, I expect” commented one of my friends who hadn’t heard the band before.

“Some of the things they do are brilliant, but some of it is crap” moaned another, who's companion later informed me apologetically that his mate was “in a bad mood”

Those were the exceptions, however. Generally, the response was very positive.

If the band have a weakness, then it was an important one: the vocals. Many of the self-penned songs lacked melodic structure, and Julian's singing sounded strained, as if he was continually singing at the upper limits of his vocal range. As a consequence, the vocals were lacking in timbre, tonal warmth and melodic vividness, and the songs were wanting in emotional perceptiveness and depth.

24 Pesos are a young band full of energy and enthusiasm playing their own compositions, and looking forward to an exciting future. With two albums already under their belts, their beginning to make waves across the British blues scene. They were recently recorded at the Maida Vale Studios for a 25th Anniversary celebration of the Paul Jones Rhythm and Blues Show on BBC Radio 2, going out on April 25th. And they saw off hundreds of blues hopefuls to win the prestigious New Brunswick Battle of the Blues award, and are off to Canada to play at the Harvest Festival in September for their efforts. Not bad, eh?

And if they can sort the shortcomings in the vocal department mentioned earlier, 24 Pesos will definately be a band with the full package.

We wish them luck for the future.

24 pesos are:

Julian Burdock – Guitars and Vocals
Moz Gamble – Keyboards & Backing Vocals
Silas Maitland – Bass
Mike Connolly – Drums

Gear Snippets:

Julian uses Bacchus guitars hand-made in Japan. Bacchus is a subsidiary of the Japanese guitar company Deviser. See Bacchus

A good site about the Bacchus blood-line can be found here

Moz uses a Nord keyboard plugged into an original ’65 Leslie speaker cabinet. Wow!

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